This page provides an overview of what to expect on the day you take the Medical Council of Canada Qualifying Examination (MCCQE) Part I.
Please arrive at least 30 minutes before your exam start time. If you are late for your exam, you are not given extra time. If you have never been at the examination site before, we recommend that you plan to visit the site before your examination day.
Prior to examination day, you will be provided with an entrance card via an exam package in your physiciansapply.ca account. You must print this form and bring it to gain admission on exam day, as well as bring a valid photo identification.
You will be asked to sign in, and you will be provided a whiteboard, whiteboard marker and ear plugs. You will also be assigned to a computer.
At registration, we will collect your personal belongings, such as keys, papers, pens and pencils, books, wallets, cell phones, coats, etc. These belongings will be provided back to you after the examination. While every effort will be made to store them safely, the Medical Council of Canada (MCC) is not responsible for these belongings. Please bring as few of them as possible.
Examination security is important. Talking to other candidates is not permitted in the examination room. If you have a question during the exam, please raise your hand and a proctor will address your question. Access to any communication or transmitting devices, including cell phones or tablets, during the exam is not permitted.
These security protocols must be followed. If not, it may result in your dismissal from the examination and may invalidate your results.
You will be required to make your language choice (English or French) at the start of your exam. Once your choice has been made, you must take the full exam in that language. As of 2018, “toggling” whereby candidates could switch languages at any point in time, is no longer available.
The examination duration
The examination session includes your registration, an orientation session, a component of multiple-choice questions (MCQs) of up to four hours in the morning and a clinical decision making (CDM) component of 3.5 hours in the afternoon. A one-hour lunch break is offered between the MCQ and CDM examination component.
During the morning session, there are a total of 210 MCQs. Since you are given four hours to complete the MCQ session, we suggest that you spend on average no more than one minute and fourteen seconds per question. Please note that as of 2018, the MCQs are presented in a block (the exam no longer has sections). You can flag questions, and return to those questions at any point during the MCQ portion of the exam. For the afternoon CDM session, you are presented 38 cases for a total of 65-75 questions.
We recommend that you spend no more than an average of five minutes and 50 seconds per case. Cases with three or more questions may require more than the average amount of time, and cases with only one question should require less than the average amount of time. You do not have a time limit for each case but are given a total testing time of 3.5 hours for the CDM component.
What to bring to the examination room
Keep your entrance card on the desk beside your computer, and ensure that your Personal Identification Number (PIN) is visible at all times.
You are provided a small white board that you can use for notes during the examination. The white board must always remain inside the examination room.
Taking a break during the examination
You can take a break during the examination, but you will not be given extra time to compensate for taking a break. You should plan your time wisely.
Please feel free to take a “stretch” break periodically during the exam. If you request a washroom break, you will be accompanied to the washroom by a proctor.
There will be a lunch break between the morning and afternoon sessions of the exam.
If you believe that administrative, environmental or personal health problems encountered during the course of an examination session may significantly affect your results, you must:
- Immediately communicate such concerns to the examination staff on site.
- Submit a message and supporting documentation through your physiciansapply.ca account explaining the incident within one week following the examination.
Any intervention, if appropriate, is possible only if notice of the concern/problem is presented in this manner.
Finishing the exam early
If you complete the MCQ section or the CDM section before the end of the allotted time, you may submit your exam and leave the examination room. Once you submit your exam, it cannot be retrieved for review or changes.
Leaving the exam site
You will be required to sign out before leaving the exam site at the end of the exam. Your entrance card will also be collected.
Confidentiality – do not reveal examination materials or content
As part of the exam process, you agree not to disseminate or reveal to others the examination materials and content. This means that you cannot discuss or disclose exam content at any time in any way, even after the examination ends.
Examples of breaches in confidentiality include, but are not limited to:
• Comparing exam content and question themes with your colleagues
• Sharing content with future exam candidates
• Posting content online
The MCC actively monitors for breaches in confidentiality, and will seek disciplinary and legal measures against candidates who disclose examination content. Agreeing to maintain confidentiality and then breaking that confidentiality by disseminating exam content is considered a highly unprofessional act.
Breaking confidentiality and disseminating exam content can lead to being denied a final result on the examination and being reported to regulatory authorities and other medical organizations as well as being barred from taking MCC exams in the future. See our Test security page for more information.